The all-stars are back! The all-stars are back! But before we got to exactly which all-stars will be joining out top ten dancers on "So You Think You Can Dance," we have an opening tribute to Gene Kelly. I get the concept; we have a smattering of costumes from his most famous roles, a dollop of his most famous steps, but it all feels a little disjointed and hard to watch to me -- and I love Gene Kelly. It's not an auspicious start to the episode, but let's hope things improve from here. Our guest judge tonight is Benjamin Millepied, who is the founder of the L.A. Dance Project. And guess what? There's going to be a performance from L.A. Dance Project tonight!
The Background: Tiffany joins season 5 all-star Brandon for a Doriana Sanchez disco routine, and that routine? It features 11 lifts. Let's just say that's a lot of lifts, but that sounds about right for a Doriana Sanchez routine. I always love her stuff, though I do think she's the choreographer most likely to rack up a fatality on the show. She works these dancers hard, but the results have been mostly great.
The Dance: As expected, this is all fun and perfectly suited to Tiffany, who somehow makes it seem fun in a wholesome, athletic way. It's just pure joy.
The Judges: Nigel declares it fantastic. Mary says she set the dance floor on fire. Even though Tiffany got tossed around a lot, she held up her own weight, which is important. Well, yes, although that's not the most glowing compliment ever. Benjamin says she was fearless.
The Background: She'll be dancing with first season champion Nick to a Travis Wall jazz routine. This week, he wants to let Witney get the sexy out.
The Dance: And she does! This is a smoking hot routine, and I know it's all about ghosts and whatever Travis nattered on about, but what Travis has absolutely demonstrated as a choreographer for this show is an ability to hone in on the strengths of the competing dancer. She's sultry here but the routine isn't flagrantly sexy. Well done.
The Judges: Benjamin thought it was excellent and thinks she hit it. Nigel notes that she had to live up to the bar established by Nick and Travis -- and she did it. Even her breathing was sexy, he declares. Hadn't noticed her breathing, but okay. Oh, and he also says she's a star. Mary thought she thought she smoldered and says she's a winner. So far, it's a strong start to the show despite that Gene Kelly routine.
The Background: Cole will be teaming up with Anya from season 3 for a cha cha choreographed by Dmitry Chaplin He wants to be the first person in the top ten to make the hot tamale train. He ends this statement with a little "choo choo" and I guess he's trying to come across as wry or gently sarcastic, but it just seems awkward. I like Cole, but I'd like to see him act a little less internally focused in the packages and more excited to just be there.
The Dance: It's good, and it is pretty hot, but Cole's footwork doesn't look exactly right. I'm not sure this is going to get him on the hot tamale train.
The Judges: Benjamin thought it was amazing. But Mary thought the balls of his feet were going the wrong way and it was a bit sloppy in that respect. She does not, in fact, put him on the hot tamale train.
The Background: She'll be dancing a Spencer Liff Broadway routine with Jacob. He will be her shadow, even though he's a guy. I guess Spender could suggest there's more to the story, maybe Jacob is her masculine side or she's transgender or something, but no, there's just inexact shadows, I guess.
The Dance: Lindsay is good, but the routine is a little boring to me. They're mirroring each other, of course, but the connection seems technical and not emotional. I wonder if Lindsay will get many votes for this -- it's just not a crowd pleasing routine, if you ask me.
The Judges: Nigel loves Jacob's feet, so he has to natter on about that for a moment. Hello, Jacob is not competing here, Nigel! Oh, he says Tiffany was magnificent. He thinks she can learn about extension from Jacob, and she still has a lot to learn. So, I take it Nigel is not a Lindsay fan. Mary is so glad she's still on the show, then puts her on the hot tamale train. So, Mary gives Cole a big F you. Ouch. Benjamin thought it was extremely musical and it ended in fireworks.
The Background: Will is paired with "Step Up Revolution" and season 6 star Kathryn. They'll be doing a Bollywood routine, and Will can't get over how hot Kathryn is! Wowza! Will is so excited, but that's what we like about Will, I think. Cole should take notes.
The Dance: Kathryn absolutely nails this -- which is great to watch, but it always makes it a little tough on the competitor when the All-Star pulls the focus. Will is good, but at times he's a little gangly and his movements aren't as sharp as Kathryn's. Still, I'm not sure I would have noticed that much if he'd been paired with someone else.
The Judges: Mary thought Will had amazing control. And he's so likable! Benjamin thinks he has a unique style and he's totally engaging. Nigel thanks Kathryn for coming back home now that she's a big, fancy Hollywood star. Nigel wants Will to calm down and take things a little more seriously. But he brings personality to everything he does, so who is Nigel to criticize! That wascally Will!
The Background: He'll be dancing with Jaimie from season 3 to a Travis Wall contemporary routine. Travis has a story about this dance taking place at the end of the world and Cyrus says his face will be drawn into a rictus of pain and fear, but I hope it's a little more upbeat than that.
The Dance: Okay, I will hand out the usual dings -- Cyrus doesn't have the form, he doesn't have the technique, his footwork is a little clunky, he doesn't catch air. But all things considered, he brings personality to the piece, and I don't hate watching him. Is he my favorite dancer? No, but I wouldn't say he's my least favorite, either.
The Judges: Benjamin loves his raw energy. Nigel loves his raw energy. Mary thinks he has passion. Nigel and Mary think he's passionate and touching and blah blah blah. I bet he's getting a crazy amount of votes based on how Nigel and Mary react to him each week.
The Background: He'll be dancing a Dave Scott hip-hop with season 3 all-star Lauren. This is going to be hard for a ballet dancer, but if Alex Wong can do it in his season, Chehon has a chance.
The Dance: Well, Chehon isn't Alex Wong, but he's not bad. There's just a little bit too much grace in his form, not enough jerkiness in his movements. But he's loosened up considerably, so that's something. He brings some sex appeal to it, too, so hey, nothing wrong with that.
The Judges: Nigel thinks Dave took the stick out of Chehon. And he smiled! Nigel turns to Benjamin. Benjamin, talk about what you looked for while recruiting for the LA Dance Project! Tell Chehon! What? This is the worst transition of the night by far. Benjamin blunders through, and Nigel finally returns to addressing Chehon, telling him that people don't like him, but this routine might help. Yow. Anyway, Mary wanted more funk and Benjamin thinks Chehon is charismatic.
The Background: He'll be dancing a Tyce D'Orio routine with all-star Allison. They're in Paris and there's a train and there's some sexy stuff, so plot isn't that important.
The Dance: It's hard to pay attention to George, as Allison is a scene stealer. But I have to think some of that is about George -- he's just not grabbing me. He's a great dancer, but I don't get a lot of personality from this performance.
The Judges: Mary thought he was an amazing dancer. It was a lot of fun. His technique was great! Benjamin thought he attacked every step with a vengeance and he's a fan. But Nigel didn't buy the character. It was immature for him. He wanted raunchy! I don't think George does raunchy, fortunately or unfortunately.
The Background: She'll be dancing with… Alex Wong! I'm so excited! He really was a favorite of mine. They'll be doing a Stacey Tookey routine.
The Dance: Finally, Eliana is paired with an equal (sorry, Cyrus) -- and what an equal. And what a routine. This is friggin' amazing. Best of the night by far.
The Judges: They give them a standing O, so they must agree. Nigel says she shows maturity in movement. She's proving to be Nigel's favorite girl in the competition. In fact, he was annoyed the routine was so short, because he wanted more and more and more. Mary says the hair went up on her arms. Her favorite routine of the night! Benjamin thought it was great. Benjamin doesn't add much, I have to say.
The Background: She'll be dancing with Twitch to a Dave Scott routine.
The Dance: Aw, man. I'm a little disappointed here. There's not a lot of popping or locking, and Audrey's posture is a bit too solid.
The Judges: Benjamin thinks it was a little unfair to have Twitch come out first, as he set the bar too high. So, he wanted more from her. He thinks she has it all, so she should have no fear. Mary thought it was a great number… and Audrey made her watch her. She was totally engaged and thought she was a little dance angel. Nigel would have liked to see more character. He wanted to see some Helena Bonham Carter. But it was a great routine. And he loves Twitch.
Everyone takes the stage for the elimination. Witney and Audrey are the bottom two girls. Chehon and George are the bottom two girls. I'm really surprised Chehon doesn't have more of a following, at least among teenage girls.
The audience wants to see solos, so we will see solos. I just noticed Cat is wearing what looks like chain mail.
I'm not sure if they can save Witney again, although tonight her performance was much stronger than Audrey's. And her solo is, again, very strong. Okay, I love that Audrey is dancing to "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." She deserves to stay just for making a clever song choice. Maybe not, but her solo is impressive as well.
Chehon isn't strictly performing ballet for his solo, which I think is smart. He's definitely grown as a dancer over the course of the competition. George has incredible extension.
But before anyone can get sent home, Benjamin's L.A. Dance Project performs. This is very good, of course, but it's a bummer and it brings the room down.
Time for the eliminations. It's not unanimous, Nigel tells us. The one girl being saved is… Witney. So, Audrey may be telling us she's not going, but she is. Nigel tells George was his best dancing thus far. But… who's going home? Nigel notes they've both had problems connecting with the audience. But George is going home.
Cat chastises viewers for not keeping George and Audrey safe, then we review the numbers. I can't say I'm completely destroyed that George and Audrey are going home. I think they both had adorable personalities, but they weren't able to bring that fully to their performances. They cracked the top ten, though, and that's not too shabby.
Do you think Audrey and George deserved to go home? If not, who did? And what did you think of the all-stars?
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